“Chains” (No Spoilers)
This is an incredibly dense comic. I’m not talking page-length, I’m talking story-wise. It takes me a while to get through the 22 pages of story but Paul has packed so much into those pages, I feel more than full when I’m done reading. It’s a great feeling!
Things slowed down significantly in this issue but rightfully so. Our characters are on their way to cracking the mystery at the heart of this story and Paul continues to add great twists and turns; even tragic ones. I won’t say who, but let’s just say at least one character doesn’t make out of this issue. It’s so cool when a creator is not afraid to end his creations. It raises the stakes of the story and shows that no one is safe. Plus, Paul does a great job of creating great characters in such a short amount of screen time. It actually sucked when I saw this character die. That’s great story-telling!
“Fangs, Romans, Countrymen” (No Spoilers)
This comic is kicking major @$$!!! It’s so refreshing to be reading a creator-owned work that this hitting it on all cylinders!
One thing I instantly appreciated about this issue is that I was able to finally grasp which characters were present and what their names were. Don’t misunderstand; this was not by Stuart Paul’s error in earlier issues at all. It’s just that this is such a dense comic I was getting lost with all the characters presented. Plus the fact that some of the Roman names of people and places are hard to pronounce here. But Paul does a great job of allowing us to recognize each of the characters and their roles now. For example, Anthony, the former friend of our main character Valen’s shows how truly brutal he can be. The opening scene between Anthony and Valen’s was highly cringe-inducing.
“Beware the Ides of March” (No Spoilers)
Stuart C. Paul and Christian Duce deliver another beautiful issue in this intriguing mini-series. Paul’s writing is flawless and Duce’s art continues to be amazing as we get arguably one of the most unique takes on one of the most infamous assassinations in history.
Paul’s skills as a writer shine here as the pacing is excellent. He is able to pack so much story into these issues so far that I really feel like I’m getting my money’s worth reading this comic. In a 32-page comic that only has 22-pages of actual story (standard because of the ads) you feel like you get twice as much story. I’d liken it to what Adam Beechen is doing over in Wildcats.
“Rome Of Shadow, Rome Of Light” (No Spoilers)
Here we’ve got a fresh offering from two new creators. As far as I understand, this is both Stuart C. Paul and Christian Duce’s first foyer into comics. I have to say, they’re beginning their comics career with a bang with this series.
I’m going to start with Christian Duce’s art. It is gorgeous! Combine that with Carlos Badilla’s moody coloring and you’ve got the perfect setting for this dark tale. Duce’s art is incredibly detailed, even when he’s drawing the city of ancient Rome. Duce also has a realistic style so it fits the story well, almost like a movie. Each shot is well chosen and believably conveys each scene as we progress through the story. He even does a good job of giving each character some defining facial features which makes it easier to distinguish them in an issue that is heavy on characters.